Highlights

  • U.N. Commission on Human Rights Adopts Important Resolutions: The U.N. Commission on Human Rights, in its annual six-week session held in Geneva, Switzerland in April, adopted an important resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

    Adopted by a vote of 44 in favor to 1 against (USA) and 8 abstentions, the resolution, entitled "Situation in occupied Palestine", reaffirms "the continuing and unqualified Palestinian right to self-determination, including the option of a State, and looks forward to the early fulfillment of this right." The resolution also recalls "General Assembly resolutions 181 A and B (II) of 29 November 1947 and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, as well as all other resolutions which confirm and define the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, particularly their right to self-determination." This resolution marks the first time that such strong wording, in line with the recent EU Berlin statement, is used. The resolution also represents the first time that the issue of Palestinian self-determination is linked specifically to U.N. resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III) and not only to U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

    The 53-member forum also adopted two other resolutions concerning Palestine, which included a resolution (31 in favor, 1 against, 21 abstentions) condemning Israelís continued human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the second concerning Israeli settlements (50 in favor, 1 against, 2 abstentions).

  • U.N. African Meeting on Palestine Held in Namibia: The U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) convened the U.N. African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in Windhoek, Namibia, from 20-22 April 1999. The conference, the first to take place in southern Africa, was chaired by the Chairman of the CEIRPP, Amb. Ibra Deguene Ka, and attended by representatives from various governments as well as by academics and representatives of NGOs, inter-governmental organizations and U.N. bodies and agencies. The conference was opened by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia, H.E. Mr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, and closed by Mr. Mose Tjitendro, Speaker of the Namibian Parliament. Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan, the U.N. Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, delivered a message on behalf of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    The focus of the conference was the current situation concerning the question of Palestine, specifically on concrete measures to be taken to alleviate the economic situation and on the ways in which African nations in particular could contribute to supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and a just and lasting peace. The conference also addressed the Bethlehem 2000 Project and the means by which the international community could contribute to and participate in the events and planning. The Namibian government demonstrated its keen interest and strong support for the conference, as the delegation of the CEIRPP had the honor to be received by the President of Namibia, H.E. Dr. Sam Nujoma, and by the Prime Minister, The Right Honorable Hage Geingob. The Conference was also covered extensively by the Namibian media, including the Namibian Broadcast Corporation (NBC).

  • CEIRPP Organizes Preparatory Meeting for July Conference on the 4th Geneva Convention: The U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) will convene the U.N. International Meeting on the Convening of the Conference on Measures to Enforce the 4th Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem in Cairo, Egypt, from 14-15 July, 1999. The meeting, which will be attended by representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and U.N. agencies, is intended to be an exercise in preparation for the upcoming July 15th Conference on Measures to Enforce the 4th Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, to be held at U.N. offices at Geneva. The main topics of discussion at the meeting will be Israeli violations of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem; enforcement of the Convention, as well as the upcoming July conference itself- the goals, procedures and possible outcomes.

  • U.N. Secretariat Resolves Terminology Problem: The U.N. Secretariat recently solved the recurring confusion and problems regarding the terminology and language used by departments of the U.N. Secretariat. These problems concerned inconsistencies in documents of the U.N. related to Palestine, in which the term West Bank and Gaza was used instead of the term Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem or other similar terms commonly used.

    Intensive discussions were carried out with the Secretariat about the need to comply with relevant resolutions adopted by U.N. bodies, in particular by the General Assembly, including the latest Decision (A/53/L.65) adopted in this regard. That decision requested use of "the term Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, when appropriate, in accordance with General Assembly resolutions..."

    This issue was brought to prominence again in connection with a recent draft of a statistical paper to be issued by the U.N. Statistics Division that did not reflect compliance with the proper terminology. Following discussions, the Secretariat conveyed assurances to Palestine that the term Occupied Palestinian Territory would be used in the document to be issued by the Statistics Division as well as in all future documents and publications of the U.N.